Rafa Benitez answers Sunderland fans criticism of Javier Manquillo
When Newcastle United signed Javier Manquillo, the reaction from Sunderland fans was one of much amusement.
Whilst a minority said he had shown some promise, in some games, the overwhelming view was that if this is the level of player Newcastle are signing, then relegation is on the cards.
Even allowing for the certainty that a proportion of the Mackems are going to say any Newcastle signing is rubbish, it is fair to say that Newcastle fans were also a little underwhelmed with the fourth signing of the summer.
After giving Javier Manquillo was given 15 minutes on the pitch at Preston, Rafa was asked why exactly he had bought the Atletico Madrid player.
In reply the United boss talked of a young player with potential and Premier League experience, plus the versatility of being able to play in either full-back position BUT he also was happy to state, that it was obvious that if Manquillo was to succeed, then he had to play far better than he did at Sunderland.
The full-back did alright at Marseille the season before last on loan and the one before he started 10 Premier League games for Liverpool as a 20 year old, so having shown little in a desperate Sunderland team that was outplayed in almost every match, is a harsh method to judge him solely on.
A transfer fee though of only around £4.5m does though tell everybody the state of play, unless they are unhinged no Newcastle fan is going to be shouting the odds at Sunderland supporters over this signing.
With transfer fees the way they are, this is probably the equivalent of buying somebody for £1m/£1.5m a year ago, so it will be a big feather in the cap for Rafa Benitez if the defender can prove to be good enough for the Premier League.
However, the need to improve/prove yourself was Rafa Benitez’ message for all of his players after a poor performance at Preston.
Rafa admitted ‘it wasn’t the best’ and ‘we have to improve’.
Asked whether it was important to see encouraging performances from Aleksandar Mitrovic with Armstrong and Daryl Murphy gone and no new striker signed yet, the United boss replied with a stark message; ‘Not just for him, from everyone, we are building the squad so if they want to stay, to play in the Premier League, we need to see the best from everyone’.
Rafa Benitez speaking to BBC Radio Newcastle:
‘How was the game?’
“It wasn’t the best.
“We had some good situations and plays sometimes – but not the best.
“You could see they were a little sharper (near to match fitness) than us, but still, the understanding between players, tactical work, we have to improve.”
‘With Daryl Murphy leaving, how important is it to see good things and desire from Aleksandar Mitrovic?’
“Not just for him, from everyone, we are building the squad so if they want to stay, to play in the Premier League, we need to see the best from everyone.”
‘What was it that made you want to bring Jacob Murphy and especially Javier Manquillo to Newcastle?’
“With Jacob Murphy we were looking for wingers with some pace, so I think he can give us that.
“With Javier, he can play in both (full-back) positions and we needed to cover for right full-back. He has to improve from last season obviously, we know, but he is a player with potential. He also has experience in the Premier League.”
‘Would you say you are closer to any more signings?’
‘What about players leaving, anything happening?’
“To be fair I don’t know, it depends on the other clubs, but we continue to monitor the situation.”
Preston 1 Newcastle 1
Saturday 22 July 3pm
Newcastle: Mitrovic 8
Preston: Barkhuizen 33
Elliot (Darlow 46 (Woodman 70)), Dummett (Clark 46), Mbemba, Lejeune (Manquillo 76), Hanley (Yedlin 46), Shelvey (Hayden 46), Diame (Colback 46), De Jong (Roberts 62), Aarons (Murphy 46), Atsu (Perez 46), Mitrovic (Gayle 46)
Crowd: 7,380 (approx 3,000 Newcastle)
Referee: Jon Moss
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